Mealtimes can be one of the most distressing parts of parenting. One moment your little angel loves your cooking, and the next they refuse to take a bite of said favourite meal.
Well, one mum has shared a surprising trick for encouraging her ‘fussy’ son to eat every meal, and it’s an absolute game-changer.
Grace Mortimer, 29, was reduced to tears when her two-year-old child Harry refused everything but cheese on toast.
The Gloucester-based mum even resorted to deleting Facebook as she couldn’t deal with the constant pictures of other children tucking into healthy meals.
Her son, now six, was quite an adventurous eater in his first year of weaning, but just before his second birthday, his hesitancy to try new foods started to show.
The former saleswoman said: "It happened overnight and he went from being excited with any food put in front of him to refusing everything.
"He'd throw it out of his hands and get really cross.”
However, the stress which Grace faced at almost every mealtime started to rub off on her son, leaving them both crying.
She said: ''I was constantly worried he wasn't getting the right nutrients. There were times when I was beside myself, it was all I could think about. The stress was ridiculous.
''We were both left in tears most mealtimes, it was relentless.”
She tried her hand at organising ‘complex’ meals for the toddler but to no avail.
However, something changed when Grace decided to take a more relaxed approach to eating, letting her child decide for himself when he wanted to try new foods.
On the days when Harry refused to eat what was in front of him, she’d set the food aside for later and carry on with their usual routine.
Grace said: "Letting him take a breather and then coming back to it, helped him understand that this was the food on offer and we're not going to waste it.''
After just one month, much to her relief, Grace saw improvements in Harry's eating.
"As soon as I relaxed, Harry did too and he started eating what I was giving him,'' she explained.
"The first real breakthrough was a cheese and bean patty that I made out of cupboard staples and he still loves them now.
"Then I'd try disguising foods, like grating carrot into a spag bowl and again, with more perseverance, he'd eat it.
"I'd just kept introducing new things into his diet and kept trying because you've got to introduce as many flavours as you can when they're young.
"A couple of months later, I tried him with a curry thinking it would be too much of a step but he loved it,” she said.
In just over a year, Harry’s food habits were worlds away from their previous eating struggles, with the little boy even enjoying olives, of all things.
Grace said: "To think that his favourite food is olives is just amazing, considering I couldn't get him to eat anything non-beige.
"Most importantly, he's a little boy who loves food - just as he should."